Ralph Nelson, one of the founding members of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) and a major influence in the development of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Air Safety Foundation, died Feb. 22 at the age of 71.
Nelson worked his way through the University of Illinois as a flight instructor. In 1958 he took a job with AOPA as director of pilot services. Over the next 30 years, he held many positions within the organization, including executive vice president of the Air Safety Foundation. He was instrumental in developing weekend flight training clinics, safety seminars and aviation training films.
One of his legacies was the establishment of the Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year program.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the National Association of Flight Instructors Foundation, 35 East Livingston Ave., Columbus, Ohio, 43215, where arrangements are being made to establish the Ralph Nelson Memorial Flight Instructor Scholarship.